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Opinion | Mothers, Absent and Present


To the Editor:

Sparing a Thought for Absent Mothers,” by Amanda Hess (Critic’s Notebook, Jan. 15), was brilliant and heartfelt and let us in to her own challenges as a mother. Bravo.

Here’s my problem with “The Lost Daughter” and the other stories cited in her article. It’s all about upper-middle-class, privileged, usually white women who have the money, the space and the support to get lost. For most mothers who do not have nannies, housekeepers and husbands willing to take up the slack, this is a fantasy that is annoying in its exclusivity.

I was a single parent, with reduced lunch coupons, limited after-school care and some family support, and this article fills me with revulsion. Motherhood is a blessing, a gift, sometimes a curse — often fatiguing and maddening, but a job we do because of love, obligation and the ability to submerge our own egos for the sake of raising children who feel loved.

Felicia Carparelli
Chicago

To the Editor:

Re “Top Colleges Accused of Colluding to Limit Financial Aid to Students” (news article, Jan. 11):

The antitrust lawsuit filed against 16 elite universities, including six in the Ivy League, has the potential finally to put an end to those schools’ corrupt “pay to play” admissions practices.

By taking advantage of an exemption from the antitrust laws, these schools promised not to consider an applicant’s financial-aid status or wealth in making admissions decisions. Nonetheless, they (like virtually all elite colleges and universities) admittedly give admissions preferences to the children of donors and of just plain rich people, whom they see as potential donors.

Even so-called legacy preferences at such schools are generally given to the children of only alumni who have contributed money. For example, a study of Harvard concluded that alumni children lose most of their admissions advantage if they apply for financial aid.

Since the students at the elite colleges and universities are preferred for the top jobs in America and since these schools select their students in part based on their families’ wealth or position, we have in effect created a hereditary aristocracy in the United States similar to that of titled personages in a monarchy. This must end.

Jonathan Zell
Columbus, Ohio
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:

Re “Is Paganism Replacing Christianity?,” by Christopher Caldwell (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 3):

That humans have always been able to twist a doctrine of faith into something that serves their own ends doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as a pure faith. The heart of Christianity is uncomplicated. It is the Christ figure himself and his plain-spoken request of all of us to honor our obligation to each other: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

He healed the sick, the wounded and the despairing without judgment wherever he found them. He welcomed with a natural affection those whom society cast aside: lepers, adulteresses, Samaritans. He turned to the criminals hanging on crosses either side of the one on which he was dying and said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Notwithstanding the unfortunate rigidities and intolerances that came to be associated with the Christian faith, there remains at its core in the person of Christ the best and most shining example we have of pure mercy and love’s power to heal.

Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn.

To the Editor:

Increased manufacturing in the United States is important for job growth and national security, as aptly discussed in “Made in America, Again” (Business, Jan. 7).

While innovations such as those made by the Port Gibson, Miss., garment factory mentioned in the article can lead to more jobs, today’s domestic manufacturing work force is not adequate in size or skill sets for current needs, let alone for future expected growth.

After generations of Americans witnessed the migration of well-paying manufacturing jobs to other countries, they’ve come to believe that such opportunities no longer exist here.

What’s needed is a coordinated effort to make manufacturing “cool” again and show that modern manufacturing jobs are exciting and, with the right vocational training, create a clear path to a good and fulfilling life.

As educators and scientists who are developing innovative manufacturing technology, we have to excite kids about advanced manufacturing, so they see it as a great career choice.

Gary Fedder
Pittsburgh
The writer is director of the Manufacturing Futures Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

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